Zero tolerance for abuse: Sugar Minister

September 30, 2023 7:42 am

[Source: Fiji Government/Facebook]

Minister for Sugar, Charan Jeath Singh, has emphasized a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of abuse within the sugar industry.

He highlighted this during the launch of the Farmers and Lease Premium Assistance Program, where the Minister stressed the need for responsible financial management and genuine efforts to uplift the industry.

He says a significant allocation of $5.5 million has been dedicated to the in-field drainage assistance program, a critical initiative previously overlooked by past administrations.

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Minister Singh says that neglected drainage systems, silted and blocked, have been major contributors to diminishing sugarcane yields and production in the industry.

Minister for Sugar, Charan Jeath Singh

He also drew attention to instances where contractors had been engaged for various works, such as cane access road construction and drain cleaning.
Singh says some of these contractors allegedly abused the system by receiving payments without fulfilling their responsibilities.

“We have got the money but let’s not abuse it. Every dollar has to be counted because the previous years the contractors come whether for cane access road or cleaning of drains woks are not done but money is being paid and some of them have become millionaires just by doing nothing. I can name some contractors in Vanua Levu who were once near bankrupt but today they are millionaires. They haven’t done any work but they have collected money.”

Singh has also issued a stern warning, emphasizing that any ministry staff found colluding with contractors for personal gain will face immediate termination.

The Minister also disclosed the recent dismissal of a Fiji Sugar Corporation staff member.

He says the individual had been terminated for engaging in unethical practices, specifically purchasing substandard materials from a supplier in exchange for personal benefits such as meat.